24 July 2008


Name: Caramba!
City: Hong Kong
Address: Soho, 26-30 Elgin Street & Discovery Bay, Discovery Bay Plaza (on the waterfront)

Website: http://www.caramba.com.hk

Cuisine: Mexican

Critique: I have eaten here twice and both times were mostly good experiences. The fact is that if you are looking for an Mexican experience in Asia like you would have in America, you are going to be disappointed. It just doesn't happen.

The first time I had the chicken quesadillas. They tasted fine, but were a bit thin and left me wanting more. More recently, I went with 3 other people and I got the beef tacos. One person ordered fish fajitas, another got chicken or beef fajitas and another person also ordered tacos. We also had a queso (cheese) dip.

The chips were okay, not the seasoned stuff that Rick had at the other Mexican place in Soho. They weren't the best chips I have had, but they were solid. I really liked the queso, but it was more of a rotelle (rotel?) dip than the white cheese queso you get in the States.

The tacos were more like taco supremes because they come standard with refried beans, guacamole and sour cream in the tacos and you get a side of rice and black beans. I told the waitress, as did the other person ordering tacos, "no beans." She got it half right, there weren't any black beans, but there were refried beans in the tacos. Honestly, I forgot to tell her no guac and sour cream, so I ended up scrapping quite a bit of the taco. The tacos were okay, but I probably won't order them again because it is too much of a hassle to make sure I don't get all the stuff I don't want.

The waitress did mess up the fish fajitas and brought chicken the first time, which meant we had to wait while they cooked up some fish and brought the right stuff. She enjoyed the fajitas once the right ones came (see below).

And she even returned the later that week to take some guests from out-of-town there.

As I noted the service wasn't top notch, but part of that was my fault. However, it could be improved. On the weekends, the small, thin restaurant fills up quick.

I was treated on both occasions, so I don't recall the exact prices, but I think the quesadillas were around $70 HKD (about $9 US) and the tacos were around $120 HKD (around $15 US). However, we went on a Monday night and there were people from Asiaxpat.com passing out discount cards. I believe you got a second entree for 1/2 off, so try to go on Monday.

Comments/Recommendations: As I said, it is nearly impossible to have the type of Mexican food you had in the States anywhere in Asia, but Caramba! is a decent choice in Hong Kong. And for people who have been in Asia a while, especially the remote areas, it will be a treat. Keep expectations reasonable and have a nice meal.

Rating: Three fries